Mining firm files charges vs 10 Zambales residents

barricade
BARRICADE. Residents of Santa Cruz town in Zambales have been blocking the hauling trucks of Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation in protest of the environmental damage its operations have reportedly caused in the villages. Photo by Randy Datu/Rappler
Residents of Santa Cruz, Zambales, have blocked the hauling trucks of Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation since its mining operations reportedly caused floods in the villages

ZAMBALES, Philippines (Feb. 10, 2016) — Mining firm Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) Incorporated on Wednesday, February 10, charged 10 residents of Santa Cruz town in this province for blocking their hauling trucks since the 3rd week of January.

Charged for violation of Mining Act of 1995 were:

  • Santa Cruz Councilor Zenaida Mayor
  • Barangay Kagawad Raul Ecleo
  • Barangay Kagawad Louie Mirador
  • Pastor Edgardo Obra
  • Josephine Ignacio
  • Concerned Citizens of Santa Cruz chairman Benito Molino
  • Concerned Citizens of Santa Cruz secretary general Josephine Astadan
  • Salvador Cortes
  • Luisa Serrano
  • Christopher Marzan

Last weekend, Zambales policemen – led by Senior Inspector Ramil Menor, Santa Cruz police chief Orlando Reyes, and Police Investigator George Siquig – forcibly broke through the human barricade put up by residents of Barangay Bayto, according to witnesses.

They arrested 4, but later released Jerome Merano and Daniel Reyes.

On October 18, 2015, villages in Santa Cruz experienced head-high floods and reddish mud flowing down from the mountains. Residents blamed it on the alleged destructive mining operations in the town.

Seven residents and many farm animals died, while farms and fish ponds were destroyed.

Amid the huge loss in income and livelihood of residents, Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr was reported to have said that the flooding was not related to mining operations in the area.

In 2014 and 2015, the provincial and municipal governments reached an agreement with mining companies for the latter to build roads leading to their own sites, or be denied operation permits. The roads were not built, but mining operations continued.

Inaction on the part of the provincial and municipal governments caused the residents of Barangay Bayto to go to the national highway to block the hauling trucks of ZDMC.

ZDMC is a company owned by DM Consunji Incorporated (DMCI) Holdings.

DMCI was contracted by Benguet Nickel Mines Incorporated to mine Area 1 of BNMI in Santa Cruz.

Residents believe that operations in Area 1 are what brought so much destruction to the interior barangays in the town, especially the farmlands and the Alinsaog River.


rappler_64  by Randy V. Datu | Rappler.com